The Kennedy Half Century

开始时间: 待定 持续时间: Unknown

所在平台: Coursera

课程类别: 人文

大学或机构: University of Virginia(弗吉尼亚大学)

授课老师: Larry J. Sabato



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When John F. Kennedy entered the presidential limousine at Love Field in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963, he began his ride into history. The journey continues, and we call it the Kennedy legacy.

In the weeks leading up to the 50th anniversary of the assassination, this class, The Kennedy Half-Century, will explore the Presidency, assassination, and lasting legacy of President John F. Kennedy. Students will learn the compelling story of how JFK’s life, administration, and tragic death have influenced the general public, the media, and each of the nine U.S. presidents who followed.

The study of the legacy of President Kennedy is far from dusty history. In fact, the lessons to be learned are not as much about Kennedy in his time as they are about the effects of John F. Kennedy on our time.  Understanding the Kennedy legacy and being able to identify elements of his legacy within the context of modern politics helps understand many of the vexing problems that have developed over the last half century as well as many of the challenges that confront us today.   

Political power is created in many ways: winning an election, facing down an enemy, or skillfully riding the waves of popular opinion. But lasting power is accorded to only a handful of presidents, especially after their death. There is no doubt that John Kennedy is one of the few.

A recent Gallup poll gave JFK the highest job approval rating of any of his presidential successors, and millions remain captivated by his one thousand days in the White House. The tragedy of John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 overwhelmed the public’s senses and raised a host of painful questions. Why did it happen? How could it happen?

November 22, 1963 was so powerful a moment that in the fifty years since the assassination, every U.S. President that followed JFK has used Kennedy’s words and actions in an effort to craft their own political image. Why does Kennedy’s influence persist, and will it continue? What are the effects?

We’ll address these questions and much more as we explore The Kennedy Half-Century.


The Kennedy Half Century

Professor Larry J. Sabato

Course Syllabus* 

Suggested Readings:  Content for this course is based on Professor Larry J. Sabato's research in his forthcoming book "The Kennedy Half Century" (Bloomsbury, October 2013).  You are not required to purchase any book to complete this course, but as Professor Sabato will note during the course lectures, his and many other books and articles contain content that cannot be covered in the limited timeframe and format of this four-week course.  For further reading and study, consult the "Suggested Readings" section of this page. 


Week One Topics

  • Introduction:  The Birth of a Legacy
  • JFK’s Rise to Power, Legislative Career in the US House and Senate
  • VP Speculation: The 1956 Democratic National Convention
  • The New Frontier:  1960 Campaign
  • Religion and Politics in the 1960 Election (Part One)
  • The Great Debates and the Advent of the Media Presidency
  • Religion and Politics (Part Two)
  • Election Day in America:  How Kennedy Won

Week Two Topics

  • The Torch is Passed:  John F. Kennedy Sets His Agenda
  • Civil Rights during the Kennedy Administration (Part One)
  • Space Exploration
  • The Bay of Pigs Disaster, The Berlin Crisis, The Cuban Missile Crisis
  • Civil Rights and the Kennedy Administration (Part Two)
  • The Kennedy Assassination in Dallas, Texas
  • Parkland Hospital, A New President and a National Funeral
  • Lee Harvey Oswald
  • Lyndon Johnson (Part One)
  • The Abraham Zapruder Film and Ballistics Evidence
  • Aftermath of the Assassination and The Warren Commission

Week Three Topics

  • Who Killed JFK? The Rise of Conspiracy Theories (Part One)
  • Conspiracy Theories Then and Now (Part Two)
  • Lyndon Johnson (Part Two)
  • Richard Nixon
  • Gerald Ford
  • Assassination Revisited:  The House Select Committee on Assassinations
  • Jimmy Carter

Week Four Topics

  • Ronald Reagan
  • George H.W. Bush
  • Bill Clinton
  • George W. Bush
  • Barack Obama
  • Conclusion:  A Flame Eternal?

 * While the topics will not change significantly, this draft course syllabus is subject to revision until the course begins.





Students will learn the compelling story of how JFK’s life, administration, and tragic death have influenced the general public, the media, and each of the nine U.S. presidents who followed over the Kennedy Half Century.